Set and measure goals. There are two types of goals new goals and improvement goals. What I mean by new goals is needs of the business things you’re not doing. Then there are improvement goals how are we going to get better in our processes?
In any business people say, ‘Our plan for next year is to make X amount of dollars.’ Well, whoop-de-do. How are you going to do it? What, specifically, is going to drive that performance?
Specifically identify what’s going to drive it. Don’t just say we’re going to make X amount more dollars next year. If you’re not measuring, you’re not doing the company or your shareholders a good service. Actually measure and track it. Otherwise, you’re not going to understand your business well.
Explain changes. Nothing beats face-to-face, candid dialogue. You have to explain the change.
When you’re presenting change to someone, they’re thinking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ You better have that answer, and you better be able to articulate why you’re making the change and what’s in it for you. Maybe what’s in it for them it doesn’t have to be all monetary is life’s going to be easier, these processes are going to lead to more profits, and if we have more profits, we can do more things. It’s a key thing you can’t lose sight of.
Any leader must make sure that the changes they’re implementing are sound business fundamentals. There’s always going to be people who resist change, but if your strategy is sound, the naysayer’s voice will be drowned out by all the positive momentum that the change brings.
Be repetitive. The change may take considerable time to implement, but a CEO’s job is they must be firm in their convictions to lead a positive change in the organization.
Make sure the message is clear and consistent and, above all, it has to be repetitive. That doesn’t sound exciting or sexy, but you cannot announce a bold change statement or vision statement and think it’s magically going to take root in your organization.
If you continue to be repetitive and reinforce the message, then it becomes part of your corporate DNA.
Get buy-in. Have cross-collaboration between departments. If we’re going to implement a new building design, there will be myself, operations, construction, franchising, because if I’m a franchisor, I want my input in terms of how I’m going to sell it well, I have to build it. You get collective buy-in, and the key thing is to communicate it so everyone understands why we’re doing it.
There’s always going to be some people that disagree. Sometimes you have to say, ‘This is how we’re proceeding,’ because as a CEO, you’re armed with a lot more intelligence no disrespect to anyone in the organization of the totality of everything that’s happening.
Recognize the best. Demonstrate how other people are being very successful. Sure, we always want to lift the bottom people up, but we focus on the top performers and give them rewards and showcase these people. We articulate how they got there and why they’re successful.
You have to make it a little painful for the people who aren’t performing. You put them on a path saying, ‘This is where you need to be, otherwise, things aren’t going to be proceeding according to plan.’
Give people tools to succeed. There can’t be any barriers. With my direct reports, if there are any barriers to doing your job, I want to know about it, and we take down that roadblock that same day.
Let’s be honest work is hard enough as it is. There’s always challenges we have to deal with day in and day out. There should not be challenges from Day One when you hire somebody, so you have to look and say, ‘Am I setting this person up for success?’
I’m not talking about computers, staplers and supplies all that stuff goes without saying but do they have the support of their management, do they know what’s expected of them, can they get access to the right personnel to do their job and be successful? We have a home office. I always tell these people, ‘In order for these stores ... to be successful, we have to be incredibly responsive to them.’ There’s going to be a certain amount of teamwork that’s needed to fulfill the goals of the organization.
Stay connected. Often the CEO is the last to know about things in the organization. It happens all the time don’t tell him, don’t tell him. You have to develop this unique ability to assess people and assess, maybe with very limited information, quickly what’s going on, recognizing the fact that sometimes you’re not going to get all the information you need.
It’s diligent follow-up as well. I’ve got plenty of people. I’m fully confident that they’re doing the right job for the business.
I don’t have to follow up with them, even though I do, and we measure results. If you have to tightly manage someone, you have the wrong person. Not to sound cold-hearted, but rather candid, fire them. It’s not worth the time and effort.
Be candid. It’s important for people to clearly know what’s expected and what’s going well, or what’s not going well. It’s the only way to run a business.
I’m to the point where it’s almost blunt, but I’d rather have it that way. You do people a disservice if you’re not candid with them.
HOW TO REACH: Huddle House Inc., www.huddlehouse.com or (770) 325-1300